Florida Sports Betting: Legal Wagering in Limbo Awaiting Appeal – 2023

The Super Bowl LVII is already set as the Kansas City Chiefs and Philadelphia Eagles meet at the State Farm Stadium in Glendale, Arizona.

The NHL season is heating up as Boston Bruins (38-7-5) look to separate themselves from the rest of the pack. Last Year’s finalists, Colorado Avalanche and Tampa Bay Lightning are still in a good spot while the Carolina Hurricanes are hacking the league with their surprising performance.

The NBA trade deadline and All-star weekend are coming this February, while The MLB regular season commencement (March 30) is approaching.

Sports betting in Florida

The negotiations between Governor DeSantis and the Seminole Tribe of Florida become fruitful as they paved way for legal sports betting to take place in the Sunshine State. The resulting gaming compact created a framework that allows the tribes to launch retail sportsbooks, as well as making it possible for outside pari-mutuel facilities to introduce their own sportsbooks.

Notably, it also granted the tribes a degree of exclusivity when it came to online sports betting – and that is where the problem started. Florida and the Seminole Tribe’s legal approach to sports betting is problematic in a number of ways. Instead of licensing the tribes as commercial mobile sports betting operators like other tribal casino states, the state decided to authorize mobile sports betting through a compacting process.

This brings up the contentious issue of exactly where are bets taking place, with Florida and the tribe claiming that as long as servers are located on tribal lands, then the bets are legally taking place there as well.

This eventually lead to U.S. District Judge Dabney Friedrich shutting down the mobile sports betting operations in Florida last December 2021, just three weeks after the official launch of Hard Rock Sportsbook. Judge Freidrich ruled that the compact violated the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act (IGRA), due to the potential of allowing sports betting beyond the Tribal lands.

DraftKings and FanDuel online sportsbook tried to push the revival of sports betting in late 2022 but failed to achieve anything.

Latest Florida betting news

The case was handed to the U.S. Court of Appeals and is still ongoing as the Seminole Tribe is trying to bring legal sports betting back to Florida. However, the West Flagler Associates are on the upper hand, not just because they are having solid arguments, but due to the weak points of the tribe’s statements.

One thing is that the Tribe’s arguments lead to the conclusion that betting will be legal as long as it happens on the server, no matter its geographic location. Therefore, if a bet takes place on a server that is housed in a jurisdiction where online gambling has been legalized, suddenly anyone from Alabama to the North Pole could theoretically place a legal bet under this new interpretation.

This suggests that offshore sportsbooks operating in locales where betting is just as legal would no longer be considered black market operations. In essence, geofencing would become an antiquated concept with little relevance when applied to the modern era of online sports betting.